Thursday 31 March 2016

“'Pipe a song about a Lamb!' / So I piped with merry cheer.”

You've got to love the look of pure satisfaction on someones face when they tick something off of their bucket list. I asked Mrs M earlier if she wanted to go for a walk to break up her work day and It really did just that. We're lucky to live next to a huge amount of farm land and with so much greenery on our doorstep, we try and make the most of it as much as we can. 

Mrs M being a HUGE sheep enthusiast stopped to watch the lambs bouncing around one of the fields and then we continued to the surrounding woodland area where we had a wander before heading home. As we passed the other side of the field where Mrs M had been watching the lambs she noticed a farmers truck unloading sheep and lambs into the field and Ive never seen her move so quick, "come on, I might get to hold a Lamb". Me and Opeie couldn't keep up and Mrs M's power walking soon turned to actual running (Mrs M runs for no one!).

When we finally caught up with her she was chatting to the farmer and he told her that he would be bringing more in 10 minutes so naturally we had to wait. When the farmer returned and handed her a lamb to hold I saw the sort of happiness that I didn't even see when I popped that special question.

An unexpected afternoon stroll ending in sheep cuddles, I love living in Shropshire.

Wednesday 30 March 2016

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."

 Back quite some time ago I wrote a post about mine and Opeie's reading diary which all started because of Mrs M not being able to track down a really important book from her childhood that was read to her at bedtimes by her great Nan. The problem was she couldn't remember the name of the book, only the main character, a very large fat cat.

We managed to find the book eventually but the whole thing made me think that I would hate it if Opeie couldn't remember an important book from his childhood, hence the beginning of the reading diary, which we have been packing full of wild and wonderful stories and plenty of educational content.

Over the last few months though the way we read together has changed and it seems to now be Opeie reading more to me. So last week Opeie asked me if he could have his own reading diary to keep track of what he is reading. I think the way in which we have read as a family to this point has laid down some great groundwork. It means so much to me to see Opeie excited about reading and hearing him say "can I just read one more?" After already devouring two books.

Filling in his book is great for his writing too and I am hoping we continue filling the pages at the rate we are now. If there was one thing I wanted to install in Opeie early on, it is the enjoyment you can get from reading and the knowledge that all the amazing books out there are readily available to him.

Friday 25 March 2016

"Some people are better at handling the limelight than others."

A few weeks back our friend Chris came over to help me with photographing the LEGO arcade, while he was here he asked whether he could take pictures of Mrs M to practice his head shots for work (clearly I wasn't attractive enough!). During their mini photo session though they had a visitor who decided to steal the limelight and of course, I had to share. Thanks Chris.

"Twilight drops her curtain down, and pins it with a star."

I always love the games that we get to review for Nintendo, especially as Nintendo played such a huge part of my childhood. What I love most about it though is that every now and again the games go beyond enjoyment and completely suck me in and take control of all of the spare time I have. Despite being such and enormous fan of Nintendo for the last 24 years, when we reviewed The Legends of Zelda Tri force Heroes not too long ago it was actually the first Legends of Zelda game that I had played from the franchise. I'm not quite sure what was holding me back but after playing that I was itching to play the remastered The Legend of Zelda The Twilight Princess HD.

As far as it being a remake goes, I can't really comment as I've not played the Wii edition and have nothing to compare it to, but as a stand alone game The Twilight Princess HD is a truly amazing piece of work and my evenings have been fully submerged into the land of Hyrule. With a Vast land that you can easily spend hours just wandering around, I was glued within 5 minutes of playing.

The story follows Link a ranch hand from a quiet rural community who is sent on a trip to Hyrule to deliver an important package. He arrives to find the land covered in darkness and the eerie dark curtain also causes him to be transformed in to a wolf. So at different chapters in the game you can be playing as link or his wolf shaped counterpart. My favourite part of being the wolf is that you get to talk to any animals you meet along the way giving you further insight in to what is going on  Throughout the story. You meet a variety of enemies but also many friends to help you along your way, my favourite so far have been a group of monkeys to help you get across large gaps. With you throughout the game is Midna a strange ghost like character who gives you tips and often points you in the right direction.

I've racked up about 12 hours game play so far and if the information on any of the gaming sites is anything to go by the game takes an amazing 30-35 hours to complete, so I'm looking forward to many more quiet gaming nights to myself. I can't recommend the Twilight Princess enough. If you've got the sort of spare time that lets you get lost in a huge gaming adventure then you should definitely embark on this HD adventure to Hyrule.

Thursday 24 March 2016

"What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player."

You've got to love those amazing neighbours that are more than happy to let you help themselves to their stuff. Our neighbours are AWESOME and seeing as the sun has been out, we have been making the most of their basketball hoop. Seth has been attending basketball club at school so clearly he now thinks he's Patrick Ewing and Opeie has become quite the expert at the scaled down 'Three point line' shot.

Now that the nights are getting lighter, Shooting hoops has become a great way for Mrs M to shut off a little from work when she finishes for the day. Shes still not loving the temperature outside at the moment (but that's what my winter coat is for).

One of the things I love about homeschooling (especially for Opeie's age) is that pretty much any activity we are doing during the day can be turned in to fun learning. Supermarkets are great for spelling and numeracy activities and visiting ANYWHERE can lead to none stop educational questions if you have an interested student. Playing basketball outside is no different. Last week we spent almost two hours playing basketball, using it as a spelling, writing and maths activity.

First Opeie spelt basketball related words (Basket, hoop, Dunk, Dribble etc) covering writing and spelling. Then we took shots and used the number of shots and subtracted the amount of times we scored to come up with how many times we had missed, simple and fun.

12 shots - 7 scored = 5 missed

A maths lesson in the sun.

With Opeie's birthday approaching next week this new love of basketball in the street has got us thinking about other sports we can play out there as a family, its going to be a great summer.

Sunday 20 March 2016

"Show me that I'm everywhere and get me home for tea"

About a month or so ago, we had to take a trip to Liverpool to pick up Mrs M's passport before a work trip away. I did mean to write about it but one thing lead to another and It didn't quite happen. That afternoon got us talking about how Albert Dock would be perfect for one of our favourite past times and spurred on another visit which I am writing about at the moment, so I thought I should probably at least get some of the pictures up, to link the two posts together. We knew we were going to be there for a few hours so we visited the Tate and the Museum of Liverpool and despite feeling a little unwell myself it turned out to be a lovely afternoon.

Anyway I'll leave you with a few pictures...

 *Opeie was excited to see a Matisse exhibition on during the visit, after having an art week and covering Matisse during one of the days. It was adorable listening to him explain what Matisse was all about to Seth.

Thursday 17 March 2016

"The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability."

I always title my posts with a quote and as lovely as that one is we also need to feel like our possessions are safe and secure. Home security is so important with us going away sporadically throughout the year. It is really important for me to put my mind at ease as best I can because although usually I'm a real laid back chap, when it does come to being away from home I always worry about what could happen while we are not there. I get that sinking feeling in my stomach as we pull in to our road on our return and as we get closer to the house my over active imagination will envision coming home to the front door being wide open or even worse a pile of ash where the house used to be.

There are many things you can do to deter unpleasant things happening while you away from your home. It wasn't until recently though that I was introduced to LightwaveRF and was blown away by what is possible for home security these days. I wouldn't class myself as a cliche bloke at all, if anything, when it comes to anything techy its Mrs M that shows more interest, these products and the fact that you can control them using your phone from anywhere though had me hooked.

I remember going away a few years back and placing those old plug in timers in to the sockets with a lamp plugged in to them to deter any possible unwanted attention around the home and give the impression that there is someone home. Which at the time did what it needed to do but what concerned me though is that if someone was watching the house they would realise that the same light went on and off at the same time every night. For an opportunistic robbery great, but useless in stopping someone who knows what they are doing.

Once you have installed the LigtwaveRF Wifi Link to your phone or other device, which is really simple to do you have a central hub to any of their other great products that you chose to use to keep your home safe. This week I changed over one of the plug sockets for the LightwaveRF 2 Gang 13A Socket. Which again was very simple to do and can be done by any one with knowledge of household electrics (Just remember to shut down the power to your sockets). Once the product is installed (as with all of their products that connect to the Wifi Link), you can then download the app and connect your added devices to the app. They really couldnt make the connection process any clearer it takes a minute (if that) to have your device up and running.

The app lets you set up different rooms in the house and give nicknames to your devices like upstairs landing lamp for example. What I love about these devices is the peace of mind you get from knowing that at any point in the day while you are away, using your phone you can switch on a radio, TV, or lamp etc giving the impression that someone is home, which for a worrier like me means a lot.

LightwaveRF have given me back my confidence for going away and hopefully the next time we are away I wont have that unnerving feeling in my stomach as I approach the house.